Seven or eight months ago, I professedmy love for Mac and Cheese
and mentioned some of the restaurants around town where I had enjoyed this dish.
Since then, the Mac and Cheese fever in Kansas City has exploded. A good reason for this, in my opinion, is that the dish is the perfect combination of comfort food and creativity.
By changing the type of pasta, adding ingredients, using all different cheeses, every chef can call his version of Mac and Cheese his own. So, here are more Mac and Cheese dishes that I enjoyed recently.Chicken Macaroni And Cheese
(7025 Prospect Avenue, 816- 912-2438)
I didn’t quite catch the enormity of this dish in my photo, but you get the idea. It’s called the Chick-a-roni and it’s a huge hoagie bun filled with a crispy and spicy fried chicken breast that has been cut up and topped with saucy and spicy macaroni and cheese. Just once in a lifetime, you should have one of these. I didn’t eat the bun, by the way.Extra Virgin
(1900 Main Street, 816-842-2205)
Michael Smith’s casual café beside his more formal restaurant has a good M.A.C. offering. It’s Poblano Mac and Cheese with just a little heat and a nice smokiness from roasting the poblanos.Gram Dun
(600 Ward Parkway, 816-389-2900)
That chic place on the Plaza has lots of out-of-town visitors I’m sure. To give them a taste of Kansas City barbecue, G has created a Burnt Ends M.A.C. The pasta is cheesy and saucy and the brisket is very tender though not really “burnt,” but overall the dish is like two worlds colliding.Westside Local
(1663 Summit St., 816-997-9089)
Like many of these venues, The Local doesn’t use the classic macaroni, in this case cavatappi. This is a trend I’m not entirely approving of. But giving the chef the benefit of the doubt to create, the sauce is made with white cheddar and the add-ons are with bacon and shallots — my choice — and with sweet potatoes and kale.McCoy’s Public House
(4057 Pennsylvania Ave., 816-960-0886)
Not a Johnny-come-lately to this M.A.C. business, McCoy’s menu states it has been their signature dish since 1997. It comes several ways: jumbo shells with 4 cheeses, one with bacon, one with chorizo and one with cauliflower and asparagus.Trader Joe’s
(8600 Ward Parkway in Kansas City and 4201 West 119th in Leawood. Leave it to Trader Joe’s to figure out a way to make Mac and Cheese into a snack item. Round balls of Mac and Cheese lightly breaded, then frozen. They are in the frozen appetizer section and they’re not just for kids.
I’ll end with a link to the recipe for the best version of Mac and Cheese ever —my own
.Lou Jane Temple’s road to food has been a long and winding one. First as a rock n roll caterer back stage to the stars, then with her own Kansas City based catering company, Cafe Lulu, food writing, novelist, private chef. Lou Jane has written and had published nine culinary mysteries and one cookbook. She recently moved back to Kansas City and eagerly awaits the next chapter of her food career.